Categorized as: Adult Gymnastics

You too can get the splits… by starting where you are

Side splits or box splits are something everyone wants, but seem impossible to get. But not anymore.

When looking at a far off goal it’s easy to get disheartened. We keep telling ourselves, I don’t have it, why don’t I have it, this sucks etc. I should have the splits by now!

The first step is to ask yourself, what level am I at now? And accept it, be OK with it. If you start where you are you can progress smoothly, safely. Trying to jump in at a level that you think you SHOULD be leads to pain, poor technique, bad habits and worse case injury. Makes sense?

OK, back to the box splits. So you’ve worked out your level. Now it comes to choosing the right progression.



The Butterfly

Sit down with your legs loose in front, then pull your feet in, soles touching, knees out and as low to the floor as possible. All of these progressions employ the ‘squeeze release’ method – come along to a flexibility class to find out exactly what this is.

Your partner stands behind and applies pressure on the knees using the squeeze-release timing. By standing as above your partner is able to use bodyweight to apply more intensity with less effort. Because in flexibility we like to be lazy.




The Butterfly

We’ve got a little menagerie going on here. If your knees are touching the floor in the butterfly, it’s time to move onto the next progression. The them for this one is 90 degrees. Kneel on your hands and knees with a 90 degree angle at your knees, hips, shoulders and elbows. Then start to move your knees apart, keeping alignment. Alignment is key in flexibility for reduced injury, pain and to save years correcting bad habits. Sounds good?

Your partner applies pressure at the lower back or top of the thighs in the squeeze release method. Your goal will be squeezing your knees against the floor while they keep you pinned down.



Butterfly – Blocks

Increase intensity further on blocks. Same pointers apply as above.



Inverted Box Split

Final progression. Sit up close to the wall so you are literally sitting on the wall and your legs go up vertical, back on the floor. Then open your legs out in a scissor motion, knees locked. Stay loose and relaxed. Your partner applies pressure either to the calves or thighs – if you get pain in the knees then thighs are better. Go easy with this one and speak up if your partner is going too far as it’s a very intense stretch. Make sure you come out of the stretch slow as well or you will be walking like John Wayne (which may happen anyway – hey, he was kind of cool.)


Pretty much anyone can get a box split if they WANT it bad enough – yes you too. It’s all about doing the right things consistently.

If any of the above sounds confusing, book into a flexibility class and I’ll be happy to help out.


Gymnastic Strength

gymnastic strength

There are lots of cool things in physical fitness. None more so than the specific, impossible ones offered by gymnastic strength skills.

Whilst there are lots of on-line gymnastic regimes, and for that matter basic gymnastic regimes in leisure centres who hope to give you a TRX ring row, Crossfit london remains fairly unique in offering purpose built facilities to learn the muscle up, levers, handstands, flags and loads of cool ring and rope skills and ridiculous flexibility  challenges.

We are your  “go to” provider  if you are a normal person trying to get a handstand. and other awesome skills.  We have the learning progressions, the patience and  a team of skilled, if insane, supportive teachers who will get you to be the best gymnast you can be . Probably  not an olympian, but enough to make you even more of a hero to your kids than you already are, and  more than enough to intimidate most of your work colleagues!

each week, someone gets on their hands for the 1st time or gets upside down, as tonight in our level 1 ( Go Claire!) or people pop out a few bar muscle ups as our level 2 class did tonight.

Above all, what make our classes great, is the  lovely people who come to our classes. So you need to ask yourself  2 questions

1) do you want a  learn few cool  gymnastic skills and develop awesome amazing gymnastic strength (technically 2 questions, but work with me….?

2) Are you lovely?

if you answered YES, come on down.

have a look at how to join and book  here

Why not check out our tumbling  and flexibility classes as well.

Tumbling at Crossfit London

Im proud of many things at Crossfit London. In particular, I love our adult gymnastic tumbling classes.

Tumbling is where we start the process of teaching adult non gymnasts how to  back handspring, front hand spring, front and back tuck and round off. These are core skills that eventually you can string together.

They are also super cool. and super accessible Our Gym is based in Bethnal Green E2 , which is about a 4 minute train ride from LIverpool street.

When I was young , and that was a long time ago,  the lazy sport teachers quickly assessed the children in their care and decided that certain skills were natural. You were a natural footballer, cricketer, swimmer or you were a waste of time. You either looked as if you could compete for the team, or you were, literally, ignored. At the age of 13 I found myself in “task force”. You went and called bingo numbers out for the local old folks. Very worthy, but none of the benefits of sport.

What we  at Crossfit London have always done is to directly challenge elite sport snobbery. We can teach you to do most things as long as you want to learn. Whether or not you can be a world champion, probably isn’t on the agenda, but, there is no reason why a poorly co-ordinated , but committed  client cannot achieve some basic core  gymnastic moves. From personal experience , getting your back tuck is probably 3 years worth of work for a 50 year old adult learner.

I love every minute of it. If there is truth in the saying, “do something that scares you everyday” our adult gymnastic classes deliver that!!

Gymnastics stands out as a uniquely difficult sport. I think its something to do with jumping really high,   backwards,  and turning over in the air. Its freaky because this  sport  requires you to be powerful and focused.  Power freaks a lot of people out. Jumping backwards onto your hands freaks people out.

This is why our level 2 gymnastic classes set, and make you practise drill after drill after drill.  You’ll sometimes jump backwards and end up sitting  on a soft bit of foam: then its add a roll, then its all the way over with a “work in progress” shape, then a better shape, then , well you’ll see the step by step approach we take.

We have lots of video clips of our advanced gymnasts doing cool stuff. Matteo, Davide and Nyall all “tick” internationally. This video is to get you to think that, no matter what nonsense that lazy PE teacher gave you, if you want to achieve a cool gymnastic move you can with us.

Its not going to be overnight.

You have to like the process. You’ll going to discover 10,000 ways of not doing the move. You are going to land like sack of potatoes: time and time again. You’ll pick up bruises and bumps.

But, can you imagine anything more awesome!!!!

For our part we will support your enthusiasm. We will look at how you and your class mates move and design drill after drill to help you find the right slot or groove. When I was 1st taught ( by great gymnasts) I was the victim of magical thinking. They seemed to think how they were taught as gifted children is how I should have been taught as an adult. They had an unfailing belief in a particular drill. Today I have an unfailing belief in our coaching team’s ability, and desire ,to design drill after drill, and create practise after practise to help make the skill make sense to you.

Often we have to tweak the skill we are teaching you. Not being super flexible is no barrier to learning gymnastics. Our coaches simply find away of doing that skill that you can do. Of course we guide you to our flexibility classes. More flexibility helps, but what helps your back handspring, are back handspring drills. I know hundreds of really fantastic yoga practitioners who cannot cope with gymnastics. Holding static positions, does not prepare you for moving quickly or harvest rebound energy from the floor. Another 3 years of downward dog wont get you a back tuck.

Gymnastics tumbling, isn’t to everyones taste,  but with Crossfit London around, its your choice if you cannot back tuck. If you don’t want to be able to back tuck thats fine.  I cannot fish, and I don’t want to. Thats fine. If,  however you want to, and you find those elite gymnastics clubs wont give you the time of day or a coach condemned you , come to us .

A single class  session is only £15, and this goes down to about £10, depending on how you buy our services.

However,  maybe that you need lots of support and a personal training route is more suitable.. We do that too.

Checkout our adult gymnastic tumbling and strength classes here

Checkout our fees here